Launching an ethical business and achieving 500% YoY growth by year 3 with Julie Mathers of Flora & Fauna (episode 125)

Julie Mathers is the founder and CEO of the multi-award winning Flora and Fauna, Flora & Fauna is Australia’s largest cruelty free & vegan shop with exclusive eco friendly products. They launched in 2014 and now do several 1,000 orders a week and are experiencing accelerating growth of over 500% year on year.

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flora and fauna podcast
About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
  • Product Range Scale – department store
  • On the Neto platform
  • Based in Australia, selling globally

Listen to learn how cool and exciting innovations can change how people think about what they do every day and solve problems they didn’t know they had.

Getting Started

Julie had worked in many elements of retail, from consulting, private entity, merchandising, and being on the shop floor for twenty-five years. About ten years ago, she started working online and was incredibly fascinated by the speed at which people could talk to their customers and the level of data they could get. She’d always wanted to run her own business and had always been very entrepreneurial, as well as ethical and eco-friendly.

She went through several ideas before coming up with the idea for Flora and Fauna, and she made sure Flora and Fauna was very scoped-out and able to fly. Starting online had always been her plan, with potential to open a physical store in the future.

Listen to learn how the overhead costs for online stores are different and more flexible than for brick and mortar stores.

The Team

Julie has built a flexible team. There are about ten people in the the warehouse picking and packing orders, one graphic designer, an IT team, an agency for SEO, and one person for SEM. Julie focuses on product, marketing, and the website, and another teammate, Tom, focuses on operation, finance, merchandising replenishment, and customer service.

Listen to learn the benefits of flexibility for both the employees and the employers.

Successful Marketing Methods

Social media has really worked well for Flora and Fauna, especially Facebook. They’ve grown an incredibly engaged community and hit the nail on the head as far as what their community is interested in. The community loves their brand, but it does take a lot of time and money to get to that point.

Marketing the Problem, Not the Product

No one goes out shopping to specifically seek out things like produce bags, so instead of pushing products, Julie highlights problems and their solutions. It’s an unusual approach to Facebook. She puts out long posts, engaging posts, content, posts about problems, and the solutions to those problems. Short videos under fifteen seconds long have also been incredibly engaging for the community.

She also uses Google adwords and SEO for marketing.

Listen to learn how to generate an audience from analytics on Facebook videos.

Accelerated Growth

Flora and Fauna’s accelerated growth is the result of the cumulative effort they’ve put in to date. It’s a snowball effect. Their customer base is amazing and loyal, so retention has been fantastic. They pride themselves on their great customer service, which helps retain those customers. The combined effect of Facebook, Google ads, SEO, and word of mouth have all contributed to their growth.

Listen to learn how Flora and Fauna recently recruited eight new people without spending a penny on recruitment.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

  • Instead of reading a book, get outside your business and take some “me” time.
  • Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Social media, specifically Facebook

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

Tool Top Tip

  • Sprout Social
  • Inventory Planner

Start Up Top Tip

  • Work out who you are and what your brand is first. Know what differentiates you from your competition.

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